Nord Stream 2 Vessel Castoro 10 doing a AWTI in the Baltic Sea close to Ruegen (11.08.19) Press photo: Axel Schmidt/Nord Stream 2.

Germany and the U.S say that they will guarantee Ukrainian security and help its economy, but it is not making Ukraine any calmer.

Germany and the U.S reached an agreement on the controversial Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 yesterday, which means that the pipeline will be completed this year. However, Nord Stream 2 has met significant criticism from countries in Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine. They fear that it will give Russia immense power over the EU. To deter these worries, Germany published a statement outlying the deal with the U.S.

“The United States and Germany are steadfast in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, and chosen European path. We recommit ourselves today to push back against Russian aggression and malign activities in Ukraine and beyond. The United States pledges to support Germany’s and France’s efforts to bring peace to eastern Ukraine via the Normandy Format,” wrote the Federal Foreign Office of Germany

The statement says that Germany and the U.S will commit to holding Russia accountable if it acts aggressively towards Ukraine, such as via sanctions. They also wrote that they would pressure for peace in Eastern Ukraine and help the Ukrainian fight against climate change with a green fund, which could help with the transition away from coal. 

The statement is met with significant criticism from Ukraine and its neighbors. They feel that Germany and the U.S are valuing their economic interests higher than the security of countries such as Ukraine, which has been fighting against Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine since 2014. In addition, critics fear that Russia will use Nord Stream 2 to pressure EU countries. The completion of Nord Stream 2 will also make Russian gas transit through Ukraine unnecessary, hitting the Ukrainian economy by around two billion dollars per year and its influence over Russia. 

Lots of criticism

Critics say that those guarantees given by Germany and the U.S in the statement are too vague. The Green party in Germany and the Republicans in the U.S have also criticized the statement for being weak. UBN writes that Michael McCaul, a Representative of Texas and a Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Russia “will use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a weapon of coercion against Ukraine and transatlantic energy security as soon as it is operational. Promises to invest in future Ukrainian energy projects and ambiguous threats of consequences won’t change that reality.” 

There are talks about a group of lawmakers in the U.S trying to force the American President to leave the deal with Germany and instead sanction Nord Stream 2. 

The statement is also meeting criticism in Ukraine, where politicians are said to be furious about the deal, according to courses speaking to Politico. Ukraine and Poland said in a joint statement that the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be dangerous to Europe. 

“Currently, this crisis is significantly deepened by the resignation from attempts to stop the launch of the NS2 gas pipeline. This decision has created political, military and energy threat for Ukraine and Central Europe, while increasing Russia’s potential to destabilize the security situation in Europe, perpetuating divisions among NATO and European Union member states,” read the statement and continued:

“Unfortunately, the hitherto proposals to cover the resulting security deficit cannot be considered sufficient to effectively limit the threats created by NS2. We call on the United States and Germany to adequately address the security crisis in our region, that Russia is the only beneficiary to,” read the statement. 

Zelensky will go to the White House

It is still unclear whether an attempt to stop Nord Stream 2 from within the U.S or by pressure from Poland and Ukraine will be successful and able to stop the completion of Nord Stream 2. Donald Trump sanctioned Nord Stream 2 back in 2019, but those sanctions were lifted by Joe Biden in May, making some Ukrainians feel portrayed. 

It is unclear whether there is any connection with Nord Stream 2, but a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his American counterpart Joe Biden was announced yesterday. They will meet in the White House on Aug. 30. Zelensky has been trying to get a meeting with Biden for months. 

“The visit will affirm the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea,” the White House said. “Our close cooperation on energy security, and our backing for President Zelensky’s efforts to tackle corruption and implement a reform agenda based on our shared democratic values.”